Described by some as the “Oscars of the cheese world,” the 32nd annual World Cheese Awards took place in Bergamo, Italy last Friday, and the results are in: America officially has the world’s best cheese.
Beating more than 3,800 cheeses from 42 countries, Oregon’s Rogue Creamery took the top prize for its organic Rogue River Blue. Coming in a close second was the Italian 24-month aged Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano. The Spanish raw sheep cheese Torta del Casar DOP Virgen del Prado took the third spot.
The win is historic as it marks the first time an American cheese has won first place at the annual competition.
“This year’s top prize was almost too close to call and I would like to congratulate both Rogue Creamery and Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano for going the distance and providing us with one of the most dramatic finales in World Cheese history,” John Farrand, the managing director of the Guild of Fine Food said in a press release.
Not everyone took the news well. The results finished with only one French cheese in the top 15, prompting the newspaper Ouest-France to describe the outcome as “sacrilege,” according to Sky News.
In response to the outrage, Farrand said: “We try to celebrate cheeses from around the world, especially those made by smaller artisan cheesemakers. Good cheese is made around the world, not just by the French.”
Damn right. Now, where can we find some Rogue River Blue?